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Here is something else to amuse you; Origin of the Albanian People
Linguistic studies have shown light on the question of Albanin origins.
It is important to mention that Albanians do not refer to themselves as
"Albanians." Like "Illyria" or "Illyricum," "Albania" was a name used by
foreigners for obscure reasons. In the second century, Ptolemy mentions
atribe called "Albanoi" and their town "Albanopolis".
That tribe was later used to denominate the whole region.
However, by that time this name, which has
deep Indo-European roots, was already widely used within the Adriatic region.
All over South and Southeastern Europe, there are areas, cities, mountains, etc.,
whose names are based on the root "alba" ("white; dawn"). The best-known
examples are the Alps and the city of Albani in Italy.
The name of the Albanians (Shqiptar) emerged for the first time only in the
eleventh century, in a 1043 historical record "when Albanian troops appear
fighting alongside Greeks in the army of a rebellious Byzantine general"
(Malcolm, 1998: 28). The same name appears in texts from 1078 and 1081
"when they joined the Byzantine forces resisting an invasion there [Durrės] by the
Norman adventurer Robert Guiscard" (Malcolm, 1998: 28). Scholars have
suggested that there is a link between the medieval Albanians and the tribe "Albanoi."
By the end of the 19th century, it has already been established that
Albanians originated from the ancient Illyrians.
Historians, believe that Albanians of Kosova
are of Thracian origin. This interpretation goes back to 19th century history,
as well as to interpretation of Greek sources of the period and archeological findings from
the early 20th century.
The fact that Albanians are descendents of the Illyrians, it can be inferred that they are among
the most ancient people in the Balkans. There is
continuity between the Illyrians and the Albanians, the latter must have received Christianity
before all other people in the Balkans. That type of Christianity had oriental origins. This means
that the original faith of the Albanians was Christian.
This too is supported by historiography, which
goes on to say that Albanians were all Catholic Christians and Islam
was introduced much later, in order to divide the population.
The Romans used the name "Illyricum" for a large territory spreading all over the East Adriatic coast.
This was the reason why all people from that region were called Illyrians, without any distinction.
The name Illyrians Greeks had used it in the 5th-4th century B.C.
to name a group of people living on their northwestern border. These people were divided
into tribes, of which at least three are known: the Taulantian, the Enkhelai, and the Piraei.
Roman authors also mention the existence of an Illyrian kingdom in the same region.
Greek sources use the
names "Illyrians" and "Albanoi". The question about the relationship
between these people, as well as about the similarity of their languages is very clear.
The Illyrian language has been preserved only in a few patronymes (Sergent, 1995: 102).
The existence of an Illyrian language, to which modern Albanian as well as a number of
other languages (e.g. Venetian and Messapian) . Linguists such as Bonfante, Borgeaud, Pokorny,
and Schwyzer used the "Illyrian" to explain the large number of
Greek words that are not of Hellenic origin. Pisani made the first refutation of the
theory in 1937 and Wharmough followed in 1950. Well known linguist Hans Krahe
has upheld such theories well into the twentieth century and extended
the territory of the Illyrian language to Sicily, Southern Italy, and the Alps.
Today there are serious linguists who still believe in the Illyrian
(Sergent, 1995: 103). Contemporary works (Radulescu, 1984, 1987, 1994;
Katicic, 1966: 145-168) have established beyond doubt the origin of the Albanian language.
Illyrian is related indirectly to Albanian and was close to
Messapian (spoken in southwestern Italy). Illyrian a proto-Albanian, and
Messapian are the languages that may have the same origin (Radulescu, 1994: 335-339).
The Thracian, Dardanian, and Phrygian languages were also related (Sergent, 1995: 97).
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